In one way or another, the Myrtle Beach Pavilion has been part of what’s colloquially known as the “Grand Strand” for over a century. It started out in 1908 as a one story addition to the area’s first ocean side hotel. It functioned as a social meeting place for band performances and balls until 1920, when it burned down.
They built a new one in 1925 that continued the traditions of its predecessor. It lasted 18 years, only to burn down a second time in 1943.
Much like Swamp Castle from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” they built it one more time in 1948 and this time it stayed up.
Two years later, a traveling carnival rolled through town. They set up shop across the street from the Pavilion, and I guess they liked it. After a successful season, they decided it was time to bid adieu to the road and make Myrtle Beach their permanent home. And just like that, the Myrtle Beach Pavilion Amusement Park was born. For 55 years, they entertained and thrilled generations of both locals and tourists.
Things changed, unfortunately, in the 56th year.
The park’s owners announced that 2006 was going to be the end of an era. The Pavilion was closing due to what they only qualified as “financial instability.” There was a lot of talk about new development plans, but as of 2016 not a damn one of those plans seem to have developed into anything remotely tangible.
At least they gave advance notice. There have been many situations where parks just decide to close in the off season. In this case, they took the opportunity to publicize and celebrate the park’s final season. The public response?
That’s the line to get in on the last day. Reportedly, their final year smashed all their attendance and profit records. Hell, they should have closed for good every year.
Somehow, I managed to grow up in South Carolina without ever actually going to the Pavilion. I’m a little ashamed of that fact. What can I say? We were Folly Beach people. Needless to say, I didn’t really know my way around the park.
I’m not entirely sure that sign helped.
Among the historically relevant attractions that called the Pavilion home was a 1912 Herschell-Spillman Carrousel.
Reportedly, this is one of only 15 Herschell Spillman carousels still in operation.
Reports can be wrong, of course. According to Wikipedia, for example, the only horse mount on this carousel is the lead horse (pictured above)
Yeah, I see other horses in the background as well. Apparently I’m misunderstanding something here.
Maybe they say that because some of the horses are only half horses? I dunno. Let’s not get too hung up on it.
Also historically notable is the park’s German Band Organ
This thing was hand built and decorated. After debuting at the 1900 World Exposition, it traveled Europe on the back of a wagon. It’s an incredible piece of engineering…
And it freaking played Malaguena. All band nerds know how awesome that is.
I was really excited to see that they had an actual dark ride. Quite a foreboding exterior (I love the not-terribly-subliminal teeth)…
Signs outside tell the tale of mysterious disappearances and guests driven insane. Holy crap, this thing sounds insanely awesome! I can’t wait to get inside!
Oh. Turns out it’s just like those junky fair dark rides inside. You know the ones. Mostly just a bunch of strobe lights and unnecessary blaring sirens. Dammit.